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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 May, 2004, 17:46 GMT 18:46 UK
Langtry's letters sell for 5,000
Lillie Langtry
Letters from Lillie Langtry were found in a suitcase
Revealing love letters written by the mistress of the Prince of Wales - the future King Edward VII - have sold for 5,000 at an auction in Cumbria.

The 13 letters from Lillie Langtry to a male friend were found in a suitcase in a bungalow near Whitehaven.

The letters are postmarked January 1881 to June 1882 and reveal her feelings for Sir George Chetwynd, to whom the letters are addressed.

They also detail her friendship with the prince.

Lillie was born in 1853 - the only daughter of the Reverend William Corbet le Breton, the Dean of Jersey, in the Channel Islands.

She was a celebrity of her day with friends including Oscar Wilde and James McNeil Whistler.

'Passionate relationship'

One of the letters reads: "I love you so much that I quite tremble for fear you may get tired of me. I think I should die."

Stephanie Connell, from Mitchells' Auction Company in Cockermouth, which sold the letters on Thursday afternoon, said they were of great importance.

She said: "It is the first time letters such as these have been on the market for around 20 years.

"It is the detail in them and her passion - it was previously unknown there was such a relationship with George Chetwynd before they appeared.

"It was thought he was being used as a cover up for her relationship with the Prince of Wales but it does seem there was a very passionate relationship that was not known about."

It is unclear how the letters came to Cumbria but they form part of a deceased's estate and it is thought the last owner bought them at a collectors' fair.

History of Scandal
07 Jun 02  |  Monarchy

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